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This post contains a tiny list of three posts written in 2011.  They have been revised.  For instance, they include more links.

1. The first post was republished earlier this week.  It tells that nature and, in particular, the degree of darkness and light, dictates the dates on which feasts are celebrated.  In other words, it tells about the calendar.

2. The second post deals with the Hours.  The Hours predate Christianity.  However, the concept of “watching” also finds its roots in Christ’s agony in the Garden of Gethsemane.  His apostles would not stay awake when he was about to be taken away and crucified.  My parish, so to speak, is the Benedictine monastery at Saint-Benoît-du-Lac, on Lake Memphremagog.  The Hours and the Mass are the two components of daily liturgy at Saint-Benoît-du-Lac.  Other priests, priests who are not monks, read their Breviary which is also a book of hours. This post also alludes to the solstices and equinoctial points.

Not mentioned in the posts listed below are the equinoctial tides.  Again, a natural phenomenon dictates a feast.  In September, at about the time the feast of St. Michael the archangel is celebrated, on September 29th, the tides are briefly at their lowest point.  The year I lived in Normandy, one could not see the water from the shore and Mont-Saint-Michel was an island.  When the water receded sheep would graze on the salted meadows, the prés salés.  We often ate lamb from the prés salés.  It was a treat.

3. The third post discusses Mass, the second and most important part of daily liturgy.  Mass can be short (the Ordinary of the Mass) and have no movable parts, such as the Agnus Dei, or it can be long, the Proper of the Mass).  It is also called the Eucharist as Communion is a constant reminder of the Last Supper.


I thought I had learned the Mass as a child as well as Gregorian Chant.  I also had a brief career as church organist.  However, I did not know much, if anything, about the Mass or liturgy in general until I took courses in musicology from a teacher who was not a Catholic.  Secular music has existed for a very long time but sheer bulk precludes leaving Sacred Music out of musicology courses.  The same could be said about studying the Fine Arts, but to a lesser extent.

In particular, sacred music allows us to trace the development of polyphonic music, i.e. soprano, alto, tenor, bass (SATB) combined.  Some pieces combine more or fewer voices.  In secular music, studying the Madrigal is also a way of learning how polyphonic music developed.  However, Gregorian music is monodic or monophonic.

composer: J. S. Bach  (31 March 1685 – 28 July 1750)
piece: Gloria in excelsis Deo, Messe h-Moll (BWV 232)
performers: Amsterdam Baroque Choir, Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra
conductor: Ton Koopman
painting: “The Calling of Saints Peter and Andrew,” Caravaggio (29 September 1571 – 18 July 1610)
The Visitation in the Book of Hours of the Duc de Berry; the Magnificat in Latin

The Visitation in the Book of Hours of the Duc de Berry; the Magnificat in Latin

© Micheline Walker
December 7th, 2012
(please click on the picture to enlarge it)